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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

'Can I attend a family wedding during my probation period?'

Abu Dhabi resident is employed by a semi-government company and has a six-month probation period

Brides sit for a mass marriage event in Mumbai, India.Rafiq Maqbool/AP
Brides sit for a mass marriage event in Mumbai, India.Rafiq Maqbool/AP

I work for a semi-government company but via an outsourcing company. I am on a six-month probation period that started last month. The problem is I need to take emergency leave in the last week of January. Is it possible to secure that leave or they will end my employment? I am quite hesitant to ask my employer. It is my sister's wedding and I need to attend it. By then I will have completed three months with the company. Please guide me? ST, Abu Dhabi

When an employee is still under probation, as ST is in this case, they have no entitlement to take annual leave, so even if days of leave are accruing, they may not take any leave, unless specifically approved by the employer. There will be cases where companies may approve a few days of leave during exceptional circumstances, such as a genuine emergency, but a wedding will not fall under this category.

If an employee is aware of an upcoming event for which they need leave, it can be possible to get agreement for a few days off but again, the employer is under no obligation to agree. People also need to be aware that if they take time off work without authorisation, especially if they leave the country, they can be marked as an absconder and receive a ban for up to one year. This would fall under Article 128 of UAE Labour Law which states: “Should the non-national worker leave work without a valid cause prior to the end of the contract with definite term, he may not get another employment even with the permission of the employer for a year from the date of abandonment of the work. No employer may knowingly recruit the worker or retain in his service during such period."

I moved to Dubai a few months ago and would now like to arrange for my parents to come and live with my family. I have heard various stories about it being possible and others where it is not, so I am now totally confused. Is there a way of doing this and, if so, how do we do it? CH, Dubai

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It is possible for an expat to sponsor their parents, or parents-in-law, but they must fit set criteria. In each case both parents must be sponsored, assuming they are still married and alive (for which proof must be provided), and the sponsor must show proof that they are their sole provider and that there is no one to take care of them in their home country.

The sponsor needs to have a minimum monthly income of either Dh20,000 without accommodation, or Dh19,000 if accommodation is paid. If the salary is lower but there is still a very good reason to sponsor their parents, then the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs (GDRFA) will consider cases on humanitarian grounds. Applicants must be resident in a property with at least two bedrooms, which must be evidenced.

Visas are available for one year at a time and then renewed. As you would expect. there are application forms to be completed with copies of passports for all parties, and a letter from the home country Embassy or Consulate confirming the relationship and that the sponsor is the sole provider.

The fees include a Dh2,000 refundable deposit and a Dh100 application fee plus typing fees. The completed application and all supporting documents must be submitted to the GDRFA for approval and a response is usually issued in two weeks. There is no guarantee that a case will be approved but if it is, the entry visa for the sponsored parents must be converted to a residency visa within 60 days of their entry. Note also that the sponsor must provide Dubai Health Authority compliant medical insurance for the parent(s).

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I started working for a company in June. My husband is my sponsor, not the company, and my contract states that I have a probationary period of six months. I was expecting my job to become permanent soon but my manager has said they are still unsure and want to keep me on probation. This means I don’t get other benefits - is this allowed? MKD, Sharjah

Employers are not permitted to extend a notice period for more than a total of six months and this is covered in Article 37 of UAE Labour Law which states: ‘The worker may be employed for a probation period not exceeding six months where the employer may terminate the services of the worker without notification or end of service gratuity. The worker may not be employed by the same employer for more than one probation period. Should the worker successfully complete the probation period and pursues in his job, the said period shall be deemed as a part of the service period." After six months has elapsed, MKD will be deemed to be a permanent employee and entitled to commensurate benefits.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.